The political class may be focused on Ohio to see how polls shift in the Presidential race. But there’s only one poll Ohioans care about: the Associated Press college football poll. The coach of their Ohio State University football team is the only man whose approval rating worries them all year around.
He’s Urban Meyer, whose salary of $4 million a year—an order of magnitude greater than the commander-in-chief of the United States military—is designed to inspire him to restore luster to one of the most profitable college football programs in America. (According to the Memphis Business Journal, Ohio State logged $63 million in revenue in 2011.)
After “Tattoo-Gate”—in which a number of black Ohio State football players traded their autographs and memorabilia for free tattoos, a violation of their amateur status—then head coach Jim Tressel, known as the “Senator” for his high approval rating in Ohio, was fired in 2011. Ohio State was placed on probation by the NCAA for three years.
Enter Urban Meyer, widely considered one of the top coaches in football. Having led the University of Florida to two national championships, Meyer mysteriously resigned after a lackluster 2010 season. One of the unstated reasons: the thug culture present during his tenure.
Meyer had recruited back-to-back all-black signing classes (2009 and 2010), at a school whose enrollment is less than five percent black male. (At least his 2008 recruiting class had one non-black player: the white kicker!)
Inevitably, Florida came under intense scrutiny for the off-field problems of Meyer’s black athletes. The Orlando Sentinel details their off-the-field arrests: A list of Florida Gators arrested during Urban Meyer's tenure By Jeremy Fowler and Rachel George September 17, 2010. It’s three pages long and includes, besides drug and alcohol charges, aggravated stalking, felony burglary of an occupied dwelling, felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice, felony domestic violence by strangulation, felony theft, aggravated assault, battery and use of display of a concealed weapon.
But don’t worry! The Gainesville Sun absolved the Gators—because players at the other almost all-black Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams like Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee were doing the exact same thing! [Are the Gators getting a bad rap on crime?, By Kevin Brockway Staff, June 14, 2009]
Here’s a tellingly ironic account of this year’s recent matchup between Meyer’s previous and current teams:
Trash talking is as old as football itself. A player baiting another player with a taunt or threat is usually par for the course during any game, especially a game between rivals or with championship significance.
So, it was no surprise that Monday's Gator Bowl between Florida and Ohio State — two teams that have loved Urban Meyer — had a little more vitriol than usual. What was surprising was the type of caustic comments being said.
Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller said Florida players hurled racial slurs at him throughout the game and that that sparked some of the chippiness during the 24-17 Florida win.
"They're classless. That's the way I'd put it," Moeller said, according to Marcus Hartman from Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "I've never seen more people swing at our players and call us racial slurs. I've never been called a 'cracker' more in my life than I have today. So I don't really have much respect for them in terms of that but they're a good team. They came out and outplayed us today."
Buckeye linebacker calls foul on race-baiting Gators, Graham Watson, Yahoo! Sports January 3, 2012,
On April 9, 2012, the Sporting News published a devastating article reporting that Meyer told one of his potential black recruits to Ohio State not to attend Florida (whose roster was full of black players he recruited) because of “character issues” in the locker room:
The uproar and controversy of Urban Meyer’s stunning recruiting coup at Ohio State settled in and Stefon Diggs, still on the Buckeyes' wish list, was debating his future.
Diggs, the second-highest rated wide receiver in the country, had narrowed his list of potential schools to Maryland, Florida and Ohio State. For more than a week following National Signing Day on Feb. 1, and before Diggs eventually signed with Maryland, Meyer relentlessly pursued Diggs.
Multiple sources told Sporting News that Meyer—who won two national championships in six years at Florida and cemented his legacy as one of the game’s greatest coaches—told the Diggs family that he wouldn’t let his son go to Florida because of significant character issues in the locker room.
Character issues that we now know were fueled by a culture Meyer created. Character issues that gutted what was four years earlier the most powerful program in college football.
It was Meyer who declared the Florida program “broken” at the end of his last regular season game in Gainesville in November of 2010. But why was it broken?
“Over the last two years he was there,” one former player said, “the players had taken complete control of the team.”
[From Champs to Chomped: How Urban Meyer Broke Florida Football by Matt Hayes]
Does nobody get the disconnect here?
Recently, one of Urban Meyer’s Ohio State players, third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, went to Twitter to voice his frustration:
Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS,
Cardale Jones: Classes pointless, ESPN, 10-6-2012
Mr. Jones makes an astute point: the black players who make up the majority of the rosters of schools like Meyer’s University of Florida, the SEC schools like Georgia and LSU, and other schools in the Big 12, ACC, and Pac-14, are only enrolled in school because they play football.
Meyer’s thug culture only existed because the University of Florida lowered academic requirements for its black athletes. Reportedly, football players scored 346 points lower than the school’s overall student body, larger than the difference in scores between typical students at the University of Georgia and Harvard University and the biggest gap in major college football. [College Athletes: Academic Performance: Behind the line on grades, by Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal Constitution, December 28, 2008]
The mission of America’s elite universities should be to prepare top students to lead the nation. Instead, they serve to slowly seduce the students into tolerating black dysfunction—how else would we field a competitive football team?
But because coaches like Urban Meyer refuse to recruit white high school athletes, stories like that of the “character deficiencies” in the all-black locker room of Florida, the anti-white attitudes of the Florida players, grade falsification like the recent scandal at the University of North Carolina involving the black players and the Afro-American History Department, and the embarrassing frankness of Cardale Jones, represent the state of the college game in 2012.
The reality is simply this: black dysfunction will be tolerated as long as alumni of major universities continue to waste their weekends cheering on gladiatorial contests between student-athletes boasting names like Quinteze and De’Ante.
There’s one simple way to solve this: Urban Meyer is paid $4 million each year as the head of a non-profit organization.
These schools are no longer serving educational missions—as Cardale Jones honestly pointed out.
Let’s stop treating them as such.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, and Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White